Constitutional Law

Republic/NPC v. Sps. Libunao G.R. No. 166553 July 30, 2009 Just Compensation, Power of Eminent Domain

FACTS:

This is an action for Eminent Domain filed by the plaintiff National Power Corporation. The plaintiff is seeking to expropriate properties of respondents in order to construct and maintain its Transmission Line Project for public purpose, hence, the need to acquire an easement of right- of- way over the affected portions of the above-described parcels of land.

Petitioner contends that it simply needed a mere right-of-way easement on the aerial space above respondents’ properties.

 

ISSUE:

Can NPC pay easement fee instead of just compensation for their aerial transmission lines?

 

RULING:

NO. True, an easement of a right of way transmits no rights except the easement itself, and respondent retains full ownership of the property. The acquisition of such easement is, nevertheless, not gratis.   Considering the nature and the effect of the installation of power lines, the limitations on the use of the land for an indefinite period would deprive respondent of normal use of the property. For this reason, the latter is entitled to payment of a just compensation, which must be neither more nor less than the monetary equivalent of the land.

Just compensation is defined as the full and fair equivalent of the property taken from its owner by the expropriator. The measure is not the taker’s gain, but the owner’s loss. The word “just” is used to intensify the meaning of the word “compensation” and to convey thereby the idea that the equivalent to be rendered for the property to be taken shall be real, substantial, full and ample.

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